Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Luck of the Crafty Irish

As a child, I grew up being told that there was no day more important for us irish than St. Patrick's day.  There was always a special treat for me and my sisters and there is even a fun family story about our father decorating our house from top to bottom after my sister complained that we never did anything to celebrate Valentine's Day!  As a pediatric therapist, I like to have a few good crafts up my sleeves for the big day.  Here are a few that I will be doing with my kids at work over the next few days.

Shamrock Dot Craft-this is a very simple and quick project for children of all ages.  All you need is a cardboard shamrock that you can most likely find at any party or card store.  Take the shamrock and tape it onto a piece of white paper.  You can either use green washable paint or a green stamp pad to make the outline.  Depending on the kid you are working with (do they freak out when their hands get dirty???), you can use their finger or an eraser on a pencil as their "stamp". Once they are done stamping around the shamrock, and it dries a little, they can peel off the shamrock template and they will have a big white space in that shape.   I prefer to find a larger shamrock to work around so that kids can then write about what they feel lucky for.

Shamrock Marble Painting-I am a big fan of marble painting in any form.  Great for working on bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination and focus and attention.  It's also a great activity for kids who may be more sensitive to getting their hands messy.  You can either find pre-cut shamrocks or cut one out on white paper or cardstock, tape them to the bottom of a cardboard box or a large tupperware that you are okay with getting dirty.  Choose some different shades of green paint and squirt a little of each into the box, throw about 1/2 dozen marbles into the box and let them roll away to make a fun pattern all over the shamrock.  If you are working with a kid over a couple of days, you can have them make the shamrock one day and write a message on the back when they come back.

Marshmallow Shamrock Stamping-if you are looking for something super easy and really fun, this might be your project.  All you need are a bag of large marshmallows, some green paint, a q-tip and some white paper.  Show the kids how to make a shamrock by placing three circle near each other, take a q-tip and have them make a stem and voila...you've got yourself a St. Patrick's Day clover.
*a real challenge for older kids would be to have them use the smaller marshmallows to make their shamrocks.  Makes them use those little hand muscles to a different level.  Plus, you can have the kids make cards for their loved ones either telling them what they feel lucky for or have them copy some Irish Proverbs onto a card.

Rainbow Bracelets or Necklaces-St. Patrick's Day isn't just about shamrocks, it's about rainbows and pots of gold.  A very simple, colorful and tasty activity is to make rainbow bracelets using Fruit Loops and pipe cleaners.  This is a fun way to work on improving bilateral coordination, visual motor, grasping, fine motor and sequencing skills.  Depending on the age of the children you are working with, you can have the colors all sorted out or make them sift through a bowl of Lucky Charms as they string the cereal onto the pipe cleaner.  You can decide on a necklace or bracelet based on the child's age, skill level and attention span.

Fruit Loop Rainbow and Pot of Gold-for some of my younger kids who are quite ready for shamrock making and stringing beads, I am going to use the Fruit Loops to make a rainbow.  It's an easy activity but works on so many great fine motor, visual motor and eye-hand coordination goals.  I found this free template that I will be using with the kids.  Again, depending on the child's age and skill level, I will either have all the colors pre-sorted for them or have them sift through and find the color they need.

While many of the kids I work with aren't Irish, it doesn't mean we can't use the day to do a fun craft and think about why we think we are lucky.  Kids also like any reason or holiday to be able to make something and take it home to give to those they love.  Do you have a work or family favorite St. Patrick's Day craft?  I would love to see some of the amazing things you do with your kids!  I am always a click away and love hearing from you.  And for those of you who celebrate....May The Luck of the Irish be with you always!

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